Monday, November 21, 2011

Martha vs. Mary

Most of us are fairly familiar with the story of the two sisters, Mary and Martha, in the book of Luke. They are visited by Jesus and His disciples and while Martha is frantically preparing for her Guest, Mary sits at His feet and simply enjoys His presence. After some time, Martha asks her Guest to rebuke her sister for not helping her. I am sure much to her surprise, His response was not to rebuke Mary, but rather His gentle response to a busy Martha was "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details. There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."  (Luke 10: 38-41)
I feel as though the Martha and Mary in me are in constant battle with each other; I have to confess Martha usually wins the battle. I have a tremendously difficult time being still when I know there are things to be done. I am not condoning laziness at all, but there are definitely times to work and also times to be still. Most of the time in neglecting the stillness, I am also neglecting that thing that Mary found which her Lord would not take from her, and that is time with Him and time with others.

This hit me particularly hard a few weeks ago. We had some guests come to MBH on Halloween to visit and play with my preschoolers. We decorated cookies, painted faces, blew bubbles, chalked. Great fun had by all. That night as I looked back at some pictures from the afternoon, it hit me. I was so busy running around during that time, that not once did I sit down and decorate a cookie with one of my kids. That thought really saddened me because I know they will probably not remember me running around snapping photos, making sure everything was just right, etc; they will remember the time spent with that person decorating their cookie and enjoying it with them.  I love to take pictures and I love being able to do things like this for others, but for some reason that instance hit me harder than any others have about cherishing that time with people and cherishing their presence over worrying over every little detail and making sure things are “just right.”
This past week we had a medical team from California come to operate on several of our children. It was an absolutely crazy week. There was so much to do that I found myself rarely sitting down. One thing I did try to be intentional about though was stopping to see the pre-op babies each day, sometimes even several times a day. This little guy in particular was one whose crib I spent quite a bit of time by. As I would sit and hold his hand, kiss his little head, or just look at his sweet face, I was reminded of the why behind my running around; but as I spent more and more time with him, running around just didn’t seem that important when I could just sit and spend time with this precious hurting child.

As I return back to Maria's this week, I hope this small lesson will stick with me and that I would cherish the time I have with each of these precious babies, the time that I have with my friends/co-workers, but most importantly the time I am able to have with my Father. There will always be things that need to be done. But in the end, I believe it will be the presence not the work that will be most remembered.


  1. Great post! Wow I needed this message today!

  2. I also needed to read this post!! Thank you :)